I use Uber on a near daily basis, and if I had one complaint about their UberX service (at least in LA), it’s that I wish they’d charge more. I know that sounds backwards, but when I’m paying only a third of what a taxi costs, I feel like I can only have really low expectations of safety, comfort, and the condition of the car (the phrase “you get what you pay for” comes to mind).
So I’m all for Uber doing things which improve the bottom line for their drivers, so that it avoids silly things like them soliciting cash tips, which they’ll soon be allowed to do.
Uber has generally been a pretty anti-fee company, but they’re testing a new program which potentially adds fees for tardy passengers.
According to TechCrunch, the new program is being tested in New York City, New Jersey, Phoenix, and Dallas, so that Uber can evaluate the results and decide whether to expand it further.
Under Uber’s current system, riders have five minutes after requesting their rides to cancel them, without incurring any fees.
Here are the changes that Uber is testing:
- Charging cancellation fees two minutes after ordering, rather than five minutes after ordering
- If the driver has to wait for more than two minutes, they can start charging the per minute waiting fee; if the passenger cancels 2-5 minutes after ordering the Uber they’ll only be charged the per minute cost for them waiting, while if they cancel after five minutes they’ll be charged the full cancellation fee
— Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) April 26, 2016
I actually think the new cancellation policy is very reasonable. It’s not fair to an Uber driver when they’re driving towards you for almost five minutes, and then you change your mind. You should know within two minutes of ordering whether you want to take an Uber or not.
Uber charging fees after waiting for two minutes is a slippery slope, given how terrible the Uber app’s time estimates are. In other words, if the app time estimate says the driver will be there in 10 minutes and then they end up being there in five minutes, is it fair that they start charging at seven minutes? While I think there are logistical issues with this, the concept still makes sense to me, as so many people are disrespectful of Uber drivers’ time. Whether or not this is the exact solution remains to be seen.
Either way, we’re not talking about big money here. For example, in LA the per minute waiting cost is 15 cents. So if you make them wait for five minutes, that will cost you 75 cents.
Up until now Uber has been extremely consumer friendly, almost to a fault. I’m curious to see how this market test ends up doing, and if they expand it.
What do you think of these proposed Uber fee additions?
(Tip of the hat to Travel Codex)